I always feel nervous to review books as I still am learning what exactly to give out and how to put down my thoughts. So bare with me till I get used to it.
Title: To Kill A Mocking Bird. (first published in 1960)
Author: Harper Lee ( April 20, 1926- 19, February 2016.)
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.
Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behaviour – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humour and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature. – Goodreads.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”Harper Lee- ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’
Even though I am a Post-Graduate in English Literature I still find indolent to read classics. Somehow I have always found classics boring and too slow. Reading them is like a task rather a pleasure.
But since I am trying to explore new genres and wish to read all the books that I may never easily pick up to read. I thought of starting with a book that I happened to buy because of its huge fame and appreciation. But never tried to read it. It was lying with all the unread books.
So finally when I picked it up to read before Ramadan started I could not put it down.
The story set in a fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. The Narrator is our dear Jean Louise Finch (6-year-old) nicknamed as Scout. She lives with her widowed father Atticus Finch who is a lawyer, her elder Jeremy nicknamed as Jem and the kids have a caretaker Calpurnia who was actually a Black female.
“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”Harper Lee- ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’
The plot starts with the innocence and the rising curiosity of the kids Jean, Jem and Dill whom the siblings befriend as Dill visits the town during his summer vacation and lives with his aunt. The curiosity and terror of the kids about their neighbour ‘Boo Radley’ and the suspense that holds the reader till the end. The fact that kids are always curious about the things that elders forbid them to talk, do or get involved with is something that lingers in the story till the end.
There are stories within the stories, but the main plot of the story is the crucial case that the narrator’s father has the fight. Atticus Finch is appointed to defend Tom Robinson a black man who is accused of raping a young white woman.
The best part about the book is the build-up suspense of the crucial case. Why I say crucial is because the people of the town disapproves of such a case which according to them is pretty obvious the black is the culprit while the white is innocent. And that is how the world still works just as it is shown in the book.
We are told nothing about the case beforehand, but we as readers too, are taken to the court and given an opportunity to view the hearing in the court. It is shown and rather not told.
The reason why the book is so much talked about, is still so relevant, is still holding a special place in the literary world, why every school, literature student is asked/forced to read the book, everything was answered to me when I read the book…
The book’s main theme is racism, inequality, and why not everything is not as black and white as it seems us to be.
“You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ’em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.”Harper Lee- ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’
My favourite character, of course, has to be Atticus Finch, a perfect example of how a parent should be. I feel every parent these days should go back to this book and take lessons from Atticus Finch. He is the perfect example to know one must first teach kids the importance of humanity, be crystal honest with one’s kid but most importantly never demand their kids to adjust to the ways and norms of the society and what we call ‘culture’ but to let them just be… The fact that Atticus never raises questions about Scout’s appearance of her way of being the way she is, I loved the fact, that as a parent he did not try to mould Scout according to what ‘ladylike’ others were expecting her to be.
Towards the end of the book, Scout is almost 9 and we see a transition of both the siblings especially how the growing up of Jem, affects Scout and how kids have to learn everything about the world and life through the rough phase that they go through.
“It’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.”Harper Lee- ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’
The ending is something I personally am not happy about. I am left curious to know what happens the next day. I don’t know if anyone out there feels the same? It feels incomplete to me. For some I know, it feels perfect… So when I finished reading, I had a pain in my heart to know there is nothing more and even while typing this I feel the pain…
The book is pretty easy to read, and the narrative style is amazing, I wonder how can a writer write so wonderfully, but have only two books written in its lifetime…
So only for the ending part, I take away one star. That goes for 4 stars…
Obviously, my ratings don’t matter to the widely read, award-winning prize book. But still, it was my opinion.
The book is seriously a must-read, and I myself feel I might read this book again and maybe again…
Have you read this book? Any inputs??